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Monday, June 27, 2011

Excuse Me, Where's the Payoff?

Did any of you watch The Killing on AMC this spring? If you did, you may understand the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth that's about to take place in this post. Or maybe not. That's okay, too. We're all friends here.

Anyway, I'd like to take this opportunity to talk about keeping promises. I'm kind of a true crime show junkie, so I when first starting seeing ads for The Killing, I was excited. And the first episode didn't disappoint. I was intrigued by the haunted, self-contained detective, Sarah Linden. I couldn't help but root for her new partner, a snarky, reformed addict. I loved the muted colors, the slow boil mood, the plethora of possible suspects.

So I kept tuning in. Sunday evenings were my Killing time. I showed up faithfully for twelve straight weeks. Even when the plot started to wander a little in the middle, I didn't. I stayed the course with detectives Linden and Holder until the very end.

Except it wasn't the end. With ten minutes to go in the final episode, the one that was supposed to reveal at last who the killer was, I got an icky feeling in my stomach. The uh-oh-I-think-they're-gonna-leave-us-hanging kind of icky feeling. And sure enough, they left us all teetering on one whopping sheer drop of a cliffhanger.

I was mad. I felt jipped. Cheated. Jilted, even. I saw the show's writers as a jeering Greek chorus in my head: "Ha ha! Look what we did! We didn't give you any closure AND we pulled the old switcheroo on Holder's motives at the very last minute! We sure fooled you! Oh, the cleverness of us!"

I actually dreamed about this. That's how upset I was. I think I was crying and/or screaming at Holder in the dream. Crazy, I know, but can you blame me?

And this is where I come to the whole keeping promises thing. Whether it's a book, movie, comic strip, or the joke on a Laffy Taffy wrapper, there needs to be some payoff. In the very first episode, the writers promised to deliver a compelling murder mystery that would be solved at the end of the season. In turn, the audience promised to show up every week. Except the writers didn't hold up their end of the deal. They didn't deliver the payoff. And that bugs me, my friends.

Will I be tuning in for season two? You bet. In spite of myself, I must know who killed Rosie Larsen. Will I be happy about it? That remains to be seen.

7 comments:

blueviolet said...

I HATE that too! You've tuned in all season faithfully and then they do that to you. It's downright cruel. ;)

Maegan Langer said...

Thank you, blueviolet! I feel vindicated.

Robin said...

Me, too! I hate that. I also dream about shows/books that 'go wrong'. I feel cheated. I feel betrayed.

It has, in fact, made me break up with some of my formerly favorite shows. Yep.

William Kendall said...

Now I feel strangely fortunate for having had decided not to watch the show....

Maegan Langer said...

It's a well-done show and I enjoyed watching it, which only made me madder when they ended it the way they did. I'd suggest watching it on Netflix right before the second season starts, so you don't have to wait a whole year to find out what happens next.

FrankandMary said...

There are just so many things to feel jipped about though. I don't even watch tv & yet they abound. Excuse me while I go "brooding interspective" now. ~Mary

Russo said...

Okay that is just cruel that the writers left you hanging like that. And the next season won't start till next year, I wanna smack the writers (Good show though)